June 6, 2016 - June 9, 2016

Inscribing Knowledge on the Page:

Sciences, Tradition, Transmission and Subversion in the Medieval Book

‘Power and the Paratext in Medieval Manuscript Culture’ is an international research consortium that was set up in 2014 with funding awarded from Le STUDIUM, Institute for Advanced Studies, Orléans, (www.lestudium-ias.fr). It is also supported by the Juslittera and Scientia projects financed by the Région Centre-Val de Loire and conducted under the aegis of the POLEN (Pouvoirs, Lettres, Normes) research laboratory at the University of Orléans. The six members of this interdisciplinary consortium (Rosalind Brown-Grant, Patrizia Carmassi, Gisela Drossbach, Anne D. Hedeman, Victoria Turner, Iolanda Ventura) are medievalists from institutions in France, Germany, the UK and the USA, whose areas of expertise are the history of science and medicine, history of law, history of art, political and historical texts, chivalric literature, liturgical studies and the medieval reception of classical learning. Since June 2014, the consortium has been holding a week-long research workshop in Orléans once a year over a period of four years to discuss how paratext functions in multiple strands of the medieval sciences, taking the notion of a science in its broadest sense as a system of thought that organises, constitutes and disseminates a body of knowledge.

Ever since the concept of the paratext was first formulated by Gérard Genette, who applied it to print culture from the early modern period to the present day, this topic has regularly attracted attention from scholars working on printed texts from different historical periods and on specific paratextual elements. The approach of our research consortium not only pushes the chronological and methodological boundaries of Genette’s original study of paratext but also differs from more recent projects on the subject in two significant ways: first, it focuses exclusively on works from the Middle Ages; second, and more importantly, it examines how the paratextual apparatus of the medieval manuscript both inscribes and gives visual form to the power relations between the producers and consumers of knowledge in this important period of intellectual history. Adopting both a synchronic and a diachronic perspective, we have thus sought to define what paratextual features are common to manuscripts belonging to different branches of the medieval sciences and what are unique to any particular discipline, and to analyse how these visual expressions of power in organising and compiling thought on the written page are consciously applied, negotiated or resisted by the authors, scribes, artists, patrons and readers who produced, propagated and responded to these works.

This conference, Inscribing Knowledge on the Page: Sciences, Tradition, Transmission and Subversion in the Medieval Book, aims to open out the work of the consortium into a broader scholarly dialogue on the idea of power and the paratext across the various medieval intellectual disciplines such as law, Latin and vernacular texts both secular and religious, liturgy, music, medicine and philosophy. Our work in general, and this conference in particular, will thus examine paratextual elements such as annotations, glosses, images, prologues and rubrics in order to interrogate the key issues of authority, education, memory, reader response, subversion, tradition and transmission in medieval manuscript culture.



Inscribing Knowledge on the Page: Sciences, Tradition, Transmission and Subversion in the Medieval Book


Monday 6 June

18.00         Welcome cocktail offered at Hôtel Groslot
19.45         Dinner at Le Brin de Zinc

Tuesday 7 June

09.30      Introductions (President of Le STUDIUM, Scientific Director of Le STUDIUM, Rosalind Brown-Grant)  

10.00    Session 1. Paratext, corpus and collections (Chair: Gisela Drossbach)
  • Patrizia Carmassi (Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel): ‘Book material, production and use from the point of view of the paratext. An investigation through the manuscript collection of Marquard Gude (HAB)’
  • Irene Ceccherini (University of Oxford): ‘The shaping of the paratext in the transmission of the classics. Some case studies from the Canonici collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford’
  • Mario Ascheri (University of Rome 3): ‘Margins of late medieval law books: an Italian point of view’

12.00     Buffet lunch served in Dupanloup

13.30    Session 2. Constructing knowledge, promoting learning through paratext (Chair: Rosalind Brown-Grant) 
  • Victoria Turner (University of St Andrews): ‘Conquest, crusade and paratext in late medieval travel narratives’
  • Géraldine Veysseyre (Université Paris-Sorbonne - Paris IV): ‘Structuring, stressing or recasting knowledge on the page? Rubrication in the manuscript copies of the Pèlerinage de l’âme by Guillaume de Deguileville (c. 1356-1358)’

15.30    Coffee

16.00    Session 3. Marking ownership through paratext  (Chair: Anne D. Hedeman) (session open to Le STUDIUM Research Fellows) 
  • Outi Merisalo (University of Jyväskylä): ‘Paratext in the manuscripts of Hartmann Schedel’
  • Kathryn M. Rudy (University of St Andrews): ‘Blood, dirt, spit, and candlewax as paratext’

19.45   Dinner at La Petite Folie

Wednesday 8 June

10.00  Session 4. Diagrams and drawings  (Chair: Sinéad O’Sullivan)
  • Concetta Pennuto (Université de Tours, CESR): ‘From text to the diagram: Giambattista Da Monte and the practice of medicine’
  • Isabelle Draelants (IRHT-CNRS): ‘Depingo ut ostendam, depictum ita est expositio: diagrams and drawings as an indispensable complement to the cosmological teaching of the Liber Nemroth de astronomia
  • Joanna Frońska (IRHT-CNRS): ‘Writing in the margin – drawing in the margin: reading practices of medieval jurists’

12.00    Buffet lunch served in Dupanloup

13.30    Session 5. Glosses and commentaries (Chair: Emma Dillon) 
  • Sinéad O’Sullivan (Queen’s University Belfast): ‘Encyclopaedism and the Carolingian reception of Vergil: organising knowledge in early medieval glossed Vergil manuscripts’
  • Iolanda Ventura (Université d’Orléans - CNRS-IRHT): ‘Form, content, and mise en page of glosses and commentaries on medical works (13th-14th century)’

15.00    Coffee

15.30    Session 6. Clerical uses of paratext (Chair: Patrizia Carmassi) (session open to Le STUDIUM Research Fellows)
  • Alison Stones (University of  Pittsburgh): ‘Paratext in liturgical books’
  • Emma Dillon (King’s College London): ‘Song as paratext: the case of Philip the Chancellor’s Bulla fulminante

17.00    Coffee

18.00     Public lecture

19.30   Dinner at La Chancellerie

Thursday 9 June

10.00    Session 7. Prefaces, prologues, and frontispieces (Chair: Victoria Turner) 
  • Gisela Drossbach (University of Augsburg, University of Munich): ‘Prefaces in legal texts’
  • Rosalind Brown-Grant (University of Leeds): ‘Prologues and frontispieces in prose romance manuscripts’
  • Anne D. Hedeman (University of Kansas): ‘Translating prologues and prologue illustration in French historical texts’

12.00    Buffet lunch served in Dupanloup

13.30    Session 8. Tradition, innovation, contamination (Chair: Iolanda Ventura)
  • Hanna Wimmer (University of Hamburg): ‘Framing Aristotle: tradition and innovation in the paratextual elements of medieval university textbooks’
  • Justin Stover (All Souls College, University of Oxford): ‘The manuscript conditions of contamination in the Latin Classics’

15.00    Coffee

15.30    Round table and close of conference

Partners of the event